In my advertising seminars for business owners, I cover many points in a short period of time. By far, the most asked about section is the one on developing an overall advertising and marketing strategy. Listed below are the tips that I share with business owners on advertising and marketing.
1) Make sure the commercials rise above the clutter. Especially in broadcast media; there is 10 seconds or less to grab the attention of a potential customer.
2) Use musical images/jingles and signature identification whenever possible. Use color in print and online ads to make ads stand out to the readers.
1) No need to change for change's sake: Many companies alter the continuity in their advertising just when it is starting to make an impact. A business cannot build a lasting impression position in the consumer's mind in three months. Once a business starts advertising, they should never stop.
2) Do not use the shotgun approach in advertising: Do not scatter an advertising budget and allocate a little here and there. Focus and dominate. A business does not have to spend money like McDonald's to dominate SOV (Share of Voice) and SOM (Share of Mind) in a market. The business just needs a leading presence in the market where they advertise. A business needs to take a laser beam to their target audience.
1) Set up a monthly tracking system. A car dealer can track prospects and closing ratios. A retailer can track store traffic with a door counter. Keep track of average sales.
2) A business can compare YTD and month-to-month sales. Make sure to take into account the seasonality of the market and the products that are sold.
3) Evaluate it. Don't just let those numbers sit there. Use them to get better.
Share marketing plans with employees. I encounter many employees who have no idea what media the business they are working for is using.
1) Have a meeting and share with employees the various forms of company advertising that is running in the marketplace.
2) Tell the employees what media is running the ads.
3) ALWAYS make employees aware of the special offers and what is on sale.
4) Share with the employees the purpose and goals of each SPECIFIC advertising program.
Listed below are several ideas to enhance a business' advertising: Use in-house advertising to trigger recall in the consumer's mind about current running advertising.
1) Use counter cards and signage at the cash register.
2) Ceiling hangers.
3) Point-of sale material.
4) Point-of-purchase material.
1) Tracking: Make sure to sample customers from time to time to see if the advertising is being effectively targeted. Don't ask, "What brought you in today?" Most likely the sign out front or a friend will be the reply. Instead ask them, "Have you been exposed to our advertising on: (and then list the media companies the business is using).
2) Sourcing: In my experience, especially when a business is sourcing over the phone, they need a secret shopper in place. Far too often, the front office fails to effectively "source" or ask the right questions of a customer. After all, advertising can be the biggest expense or the greatest investment. Make it a great investment!
Miscellaneous points for building a marketing strategy.
1) Store visibility: Can the store be easily seen from the street? If not, make sure to emphasize location in the advertising.
2) Inventory: Carry what is advertised.
3) Prices: Are they higher or lower than the competition's? A must-know.
4) Service: Satisfied people tell seven people about a business. Poorly treated customers tell 24. Many business owners think "word of mouth" is the best form of advertising. If a business is not providing the service and a satisfying experience, then chances are 3 to 1 that word of mouth will be badmouthing.
5) Marketing materials: Are marketing materials of a professional caliber?
6) In-store displays: Are they easy to read?
These are a few tips for advertisers. No magic bullets, just straight up common sense. Every business owner should take time to follow these steps in order to maintain a healthy and long-term business.